Happening This Week

We spent yesterday with Walter and June Wink, courageous peace workers and thinkers; last night I read something of Walter’s that feels like a good way to begin today, whose fathomless mystery of course cannot and must not be underestimated:

‘There is no such thing as objective powerlessness.  Our belief that we are powerless is a sure sign that we have been duped by the Powers.’

A few things for this week:

We’ve a new Podcast about ‘The Hangover’ and ‘Up’ at The Film Talk.  ‘Up’s pretty gorgeous, with some true cinematic magic, although flimsy motivation for the villain and the merciless manner of his despatch were disappointments.  ‘The Hangover’ divided us – if it’s commenting on a certain kind of American male selfishness and idiocy, that’s all well and good; problem is, I think it’s celebrating it.

There’s a thoughtful reflection on reversing your perceptions about who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’ from Nadia Bolz-Weber at Queermergent

One of the most elegant and moving films of recent years, Clint Eastwood’s ‘Gran Torino’ is out on DVD Tuesday – there’s never been a figure in cinema like Eastwood.  He’s been making some of his best movies in his older years; and if, as has been suggested, ‘Gran Torino’ is his last on screen performance, then he’s going out in a manner completely under his control: an atonement for the violence of his earlier years, a vision of community restored, an assertion that it is being responsible that makes us human.

If you’re in the NYC area on Thursday, I highly recommend going to hear the Dave Dellinger memorial lecture hosted by War Resisters International.  It’s presented this year by Nicolson Baker whose astonishing book ‘Human Smoke’ up-ends readers perceptions of the Second World War, doing more than any previous work to challenge the myths of redemptive violence associated with that conflict.  Lecture’s at 7pm Thursday; I’ll be there – let me know if you’re planning on it and I’d be glad to meet up.

For Belfast friends, this Friday sees the release at QFT of a new print of Kubrick’s ‘Barry Lyndon’ – if I were home I’d be on University Square on Friday, and would return at least once more to see this magnificent work of art.  It’s over three hours of extraordinary imagery, biting wit, and a central performance that makes Ryan O’Neal one of those actors who never needed to make anything else to be assured of a place in film history.

As for my day, I’m meeting with Ian Cron to discuss a retreat we’re working on together, and trying to get some thoughts together about a couple of writing projects – one of which I’m very excited about if it ends up actually happening.  Hope we all have a good day.  Keep in touch.

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